- The survivors will be taken to Merak, Indonesia
- At least three are injured
- Ships carrying people seeking asylum in Australia regularly get into trouble in the area
The number of people rescued in the waters off Indonesia after a boat reportedly had engine trouble has risen to 54, Australian officials said Friday.
Rescue workers have been searching for survivors since Wednesday, when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a call from someone who said they were on board a vessel having engine trouble with about 150 others, presumed to be asylum seekers.
Operations in a search area west of the island of Java are expected to resume at first light Friday.
All 54 survivors, including three with injuries, will be taken to Merak, Indonesia, the officials said. Six were saved early Thursday while the rest were rescued later in the day.
Several ships carrying people seeking asylum in Australia have run into trouble in the waters between Indonesia and Australia in the past two years. The issue has become a highly sensitive political topic in Australia.
The vessels often head for Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory closer to Java than to the Australian mainland.
Dozens of people are believed to have died after two ships capsized near Christmas Island in June. More than 200 people were rescued from those accidents.